Xanthe Clay's Mackerel, saffron, fennel and cauliflower pie Xanthe Clay's Mackerel, saffron, fennel and cauliflower pie
Prep 30 minutes
Total 1 hour 30 minutes
US | Metric
Xanthe Clay's Mackerel, saffron, fennel and cauliflower pie
Fish pies aren’t usually made with oily fish like mackerel, but it works well here with punchy flavoured ingredients.

Our thanks to Xanthe Clay for sharing this recipe with us.

  • 4 Fillets of mackerel
  • 60 g Butter
  • 2 Heads of Fennel
  • 1 Cauliflower
  • 3 Spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp Fennel seed
  • 2 g Saffron (a large pinch)
  • 2 tbsps Flour
  • 260 ml Milk
  • 100 ml Cream
  • 2 tbsps White wine
  • 1 Tin of tomatoes
  • 300 g Rough puff or puff pastry
  • 1 Small egg, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
  2. Cut the mackerel into 3 cm chunks.
  3. Heat a pan of well salted water and slip the mackerel in. Cook gently for five minutes until just done. Drain and keep the mackerel to one side. 
  4. Cut the fennel into eighths through the base. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and cook the fennel until golden on both sides. Keep to one side.
  5. Cut the cauliflower into florets and slice the stem. Cook in the frying pan until patched with gold. Stir in the fennel seed and spring onions and cook for another couple of minutes. 
  6. Bash the saffron to a powder in a pestle and mortar and stir in 2 tbsps warm water.  
  7. Heat the last 30 g butter and stir in the flour. Cook for two minutes, until it smells biscuity, then stir in the milk, cream and wine. Simmer, whisking, to make a smooth sauce.
  8. Stir in the saffron and soaking water. Leave to cool to room temperature. 
  9. Mix the vegetables and mackerel in the saffron sauce. Drain and roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the mixture.
  10. Pile into a pie dish, and brush the rim with beaten egg.
  11. Roll out the pastry and cut thin strips to edge the dish. Top with the rest of the pastry, sealing the edges together and cutting a hole in the middle to let the steam out. 
  12. Brush with beaten egg. 
  13. Bake for 30 minutes, until deep golden and puffed.